Fernley Observatory Heritage Group | Sefton CVS Directory

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Fernley Observatory Heritage Group


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Just imagine if you could experience a fabulous mid-Victorian astronomical telescope in its original building right here in Southport! Well, it’s easier than you think!

Welcome to Southport’s own unique, astronomical facility, the Fernley Observatory. This Grade II Listed Building stands proudly on the highest point in Southport’s leafy Victorian Hesketh Park, just a mile or so north of the town centre.

The Fernley Observatory Heritage Group (FOHG) invites you to step back into the past to marvel at the skills and technical expertise of the people who made and used the Observatory nearly 150 years ago.

Experience the atmosphere of the Fernley, the first public observatory in the country, moved to this spot in 1901 by Joseph Baxendell Jnr. His father, also named Joseph Baxendell, used the telescope to carry out important astronomical work when it was previously located at the family home in Birkdale.

Inspect the huge, high precision Victorian 6 Inch Refractor Telescope, built in 1869 by probably this country’s greatest master of telescope design and construction, Thomas Cooke.

Our Group was set up in 2014 as a charity run by an elected Board of Trustees, with the aim of preserving and repairing the fabric and function of the Observatory.

The Observatory has a great heritage behind it and in the future we want to make it a place of learning about the science of astronomy for people of all ages, while trying to ensure that the specialist knowledge and skills required to operate the observatory are not lost.